Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Softee is melting hearts with her sweet-yet-sensual pop stylings. Her music was recently featured in 2022’s Queer as Folk reboot, with the artist firmly cementing herself as a queer pop icon in the making. Softee unpacked her upcoming album Natural, her, writing process, and the creative concepts behind her videos for “Molly” and “Come Home” in an exclusive interview with Saint Audio—read on for our chat with the rising artist.
How’s your 2023 been so far?
Not too bad, all things considered. I have my health, my friends and family, and an album coming out. It’s all very exciting and a tad overwhelming. I am learning a lot about myself- there are certain things I’m working on rewiring in my brain, like things I do to take care of myself and protect myself from the chaos of the world.
What initially drew you to creating music?
It came very naturally, like drinking water or something. I didn’t have to think about it at first. I always loved to sing and experiment with my voice and play piano. I started writing in middle school and haven’t stopped since. The real struggle is maintaining belief in my creations.
How did you develop the concept for the “Molly” video with your fiancé, who inspired the song?
You know, at first, we wanted to do this really big gay wedding video idea, but we didn’t have the budget for it, so we were like, why don’t we simplify this? Let’s make the video the literal event it was written about. So that’s what we did: we recreated the real life experience that we had together. Machel of course, being the visual genius she is, whipped up an incredible visual deck and got all our friends involved.
Who do you turn to when you’re feeling creatively blocked?
I try to live my life. I really don’t force myself into the studio, because I don’t want to turn it into a chore. That was actually my biggest fear doing music full time: it’s a sacred creative release, and to make it my career meant perhaps taking the joy out of it. Luckily that hasn’t happened, but I’m very conscious of it, and try to only write when I feel called to.
Do you find that making music and acting have any similarities to each other?
Of course. They’re both storytelling. Sometimes I’m playing a character in my music, and sometimes acting can be very musical, depending on the script and the rhythm of the dialogue.
Why did you choose your artist name? What’s the significance behind it?
Honestly, I needed a name and Softee was the only one out of my short list that kept sticking in my brain—plus I’m a softie at heart. It just made sense.
What is the story behind the “Come Home” video?
It was my fiancé Machel’s brainchild. She always wanted “Come Home” to involve the iconic drag king God Complex, but kept switching concepts for where to put him. Finally, we landed on the idea that Softee is summoning a demon (God Complex) and the demon ends up consuming Softee. It felt very aligned with the lustful lyrics of the song: devouring, sapphic obsession, etc.
What can fans expect from your new album, Natural?
Well, someone at an SXSW show recently described my new music as “Dirty Projectors meets Toni Braxton,” which is the best compliment I’ve ever gotten, and also I think it’s pretty apt for what to expect sonically. The story of the album is me moving through a heart-wrenching breakup, and then falling in love again unexpectedly. It’s chronological, so we start with the breakup and end in an entirely different space.
What’s next after the album release?
Touring!! Let me know what cities I need to play in!
Follow Softee on Spotify.